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Dog's Tale

The newcomer's scent was all over the mansion. Logan trailed the slowly warming scent through the kitchens and several of the bedrooms, the offices and classrooms on the first floor - including the disabled computer lab. The spy had spent a fair amount of time in Chuckie's office, going through drawers, breaking into the professor's computer. Logan rubbed his hand over a bookshelf then sniffed it. The scent was all over the place.

The scent was clean now, Creed's stink washed away and forgotten. Clean and salty and vividly alive. And it was *healthy* the way no one else's was in the mansion. Logan swallowed hard, eyes dilated almost to black. All his instincts were fixed on the trail he followed and the prey he was stalking. He slowed, unconsciously dropping into a predator's crouch and padding silently down towards the old sunroom. He could hear voices, Jube's and - his attention sharpened - the spy he was stalking. Logan flattened himself against a wall, heart racing with excitement, and listened. His teeth gleamed in the late afternoon light as he listened to the gutturally accented voice skillfully pump the girl for information under the guise of offering comfort. There was a quality to that voice, smooth and rich and soothing. Logan paused, eyes closing halfway as he savored the sound of it.

"Mais, Cherie. Sound's like you an de others been doing good - real good and nearly on your own. Very brave Cherie. No going out?"

"All they do is lock us up and - and *do* things to each other. And - and Wolvie *ate* Bobby's iguana and - Bobby doesn't even care! He doesn't care about *anything* and he won't stop icing up. We're not supposed to use our powers all the time like that!" Jube's voice rose. The girl was near tears. "We hear them - hear them crying and screaming and Wolvie h-hit me!"

"Sssh! Cherie - let's not wake up de others eh?"

"Let sleepin' dogs like, huh bub?" Logan swung around the corner and sidled into the room, a dangerous grin plastered across his stubbly face.

The mansion's newest arrival swung around, startled, while Jubes scrambled to her feet and backed warily away. She knew how ragged Logan's control was and had been on the wrong end of his fist more than once in the past couple of months. Her dark circled eyes darted from one man to the other and the once irrepressible teenager hugged herself, trying to fade into the shadows of the disused sunroom.

"Remy jus meeting his new friends eh?" The long limbed stranger tried on a smile but Logan only growled softly, well aware it was false. There was no fear in the other man and that pissed him off. He should be afraid.

"Been pokin' yer nose where ya shouldn't." Logan snarled, voice dropping to a warning rumble. "Beat it, Jubes."

The girl sidled past him carefully then fled down the hall. Logan's attention never wavered from the tall stranger. He eased forward a step and his predatory smile widened as the stranger took an unconscious step back.

"Ya been wanderin'." Logan growled. "We don't like that 'round here. Ya stay where ya been put, ya do what we tell ya and - maybe ya won't die."

"Dat a threat?"

Logan shook his head, attention flickering for a brief moment, recalling the dead children and missing friends. "Nothin' but the truth."

He hesitated. Hank had told him this skinny spy was immune to the virus and he didn't smell sick. Hank had sent him to fetch him. Hank trusted him. But Logan wasn't about to allow one of Sinister's creatures into his team. He had to take care of everyone. But he was sick - screwed up - Logan knew it. They needed help. Logan eyed the newcomer. Didn't look like much.

"What the hell's ya name anyway?"

The stranger smirked and bowed shallowly. "Remy. From New Orleans."

"Rotting pest hole." Logan said roughly. Remy was nearly a foot taller than him but much lighter in build. Second hand clothes from the school's stores hung loosely on his thin frame and the short sleeved navy T-shirt revealed lean, hard muscled arms. A couple of old scars suggested interesting history. Faded jeans hung from sharp hips and the kid's sneakers were grubby. His face was long and fine and almost to pretty for a man's, big dark glasses sat on the sharp nose, hiding his eyes. Logan sneered. "Y'real pretty. Y'a faggot?"

Remy only grinned. "Looking for a date homme? Remy almost flattered - mais - maybe if you take a bath he say yes, eh?"

Logan grunted, already forgetting what he'd said, and eased closer. This time, Remy didn't back away, feeling confident. Logan circled him, closing in slowly so he wouldn't startle the kid. The Cajun looked a quick as a deer with those long legs and Logan didn't want to have to chase him down. Logan twitched as the image of the long limbed spy - striped with moonlight and blood - fleeing from him. His mouth watered.

"Hank sent me ta fetch ya." Logan whispered in the reddish hair. He inhaled the smell of the kid; cigarettes, clean laundry; traces of hot prettier and some starchy scent that was probably rice. "But I ain't letting one o'Sinister's clones run around, tellin' tales."

"Remy ain't here to spy on you. He here to help!" The Cajun stiffened. "Damn fools all of you. Der t'ings goin' out outside dis place you know homme! People dyin' out der! Remy not working for Sinister - he working for all dem folks dat got no one to help."

"Like us too?" Logan rumbled, hands skimming over the angular shoulders, half searching, half stroking. Thin bladed knife at his waist, no guns. The redolent crush of cigarettes rolled into the sleeve of his T-shirt. Thin though the newcomer was, those muscles weren't a kid's. That strength Logan dug his fingers into was a man's, adult, hard, well kept and dangerous. "Like us here - trapped here? Dyin' here?"

"L-like you to, homme." Remy turned his head slightly, the last blood colored rays of sun staining the knife sharp cheekbone and catching on golden stubble. No, he wasn't a child. "Like all of you here - Remy help you. If you let him."

Logan nosed at the loose hair, inhaling again. Clean. Sweet. Healthy. He blinked, swallowing. No one else smelled like this, here, anymore. Not even McCoy, he hadn't smelled right since his last mutation. "Y'still pure, Cajun. Don't belong here. Ain't no place for you here. We're all sick - sick as mad dogs and should be shot where we stand. Y'a damn fool fer coming here. We'll kill ya."

"Remy not leaving. He's here for a reason and dat man in de basement is de reason. He got knowledge no one else got and he's locked up down der with no one to help him." The thief shuddered as Logan's hands slid around his waist, searching his pockets. "Remy heard dat you was supposed to be immune to dis t'ing. Dat de Wolverine don get sick."

Logan snorted. "Yeah. Mebe so. But you heard wrong. I got it too. Just not so bad. I can think - sometimes. But that don't mean you should trust me. Don't mean I'm - reliable. Just ain't leavin' cause I ain't gonna carry this thing outside here."

"Dieu." Remy hissed and turned around. "Not hearing Remy! De plague - it's already out der! Told you, dammit! People already dying. China, France, Russia, Canada -"

Logan lifted his head at that. "Canada -"

Remy nodded. "Press got all kinds of names to hide under but it's de plague. Dat's why Sinister sent me."

Logan snorted. "He sent ya because it's killing his favorite mutants. Scott and Jean. He'll do anythin' to keep them alive. The rest of us can rot."

"Remy not doin' Sinister's bidding." The spy tossed his head angrily. "Remy got his reasons. Own reasons. And dey not just limited to dis place or Sinister's plans.

Logan flicked the glasses off, they skittered across the floor as Remy winced. The Canadian grabbed his hands before he could covered his eyes and stared.

"Huh." Logan grunted, fascinated by the peculiar black and red gaze. That's what he'd been hiding. "Must've had a few stones thrown at y'in yer day."

Remy swallowed. "Oui. Can't hide in de herd, me."

"Not so bad as some." Logan shrugged.

"True nuff, homme."

Logan stared a moment longer, losing his train of thought as he breathed in the warmth and scent. He wanted to rub himself all over the stranger, mark him somehow. Make Remy part of the team, part of the family. This was the only stranger in the mansion now and he wanted to either drive him out or bring him all the way in.

The Canadian pulled back uncertainly. He'd come up here, knowing that the skinny man was a spy for one of their worst enemies - and now his instincts were all confused. He trusted his nose. The man didn’t smell like a traitor. He knew better in what was left of his mind, treachery wasn't something you could sniff out. Not with his nose. Logan thought of Jean, then looked at the man in front of him felt a flicker of jealousy and fear. The spy was - pretty. Jean would just eat him right up and Logan knew he couldn't turn Jean loose on him. And he wasn't going to share her with anyone. Logan's lip lifted in unconscious threat and Remy swallowed nervously.

"Ya wanna help, Gumbo?"

"Gumbo? Oui."

"Then you get yer ass down there and you be Hank's hands." Logan shifted, watching as the Cajun picked up his glasses and settled them back on his face. "An somethin' else."

"Oui?"

"The kids." Logan shrugged and looked away. Swallowed hard, fists clenching at the sick memory of Jube, sprawled on the floor and weeping, blood running from her split lip from where he'd hit her. "Keep them safe - keep them safe from *us*. If ya don't do nothin' else, keep those kids safe."

Remy nodded, cocky mask gone for a moment. "Oui. He keep dem safe."

END (09/2002)